Purpose and design (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, April 24, 2017, 14:56 (846 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony, Please forgive me if I edit your post in order to discuss what I regard as its salient points.
TONY: Want and purpose are not the same, as you acknowledge. It is one thing to say that bacteria, disease, or even maiming and killing are part of his purpose, but quite a different one to say he wants it.
DHW: Purpose is governed by what you want. If your God could only achieve his purpose by doing things he did not want to do, you are back to David’s hypothesis (recently rejected by him) that his powers are limited. Is that what you believe?
TONY: That is a logical fallacy. Yes, purpose, the end result, is governed by what you want, but the path to get there is does not necessarily follow what you want.

I’ll skip your analogy with humans because for the moment it is inappropriate. If humans had unlimited powers, they would achieve what they want without having to do things they don’t want to do. If you think your God’s powers are unlimited, I would suggest everything that has happened has been what he wants to happen, in accordance with the fulfilment of his purpose. If you think his powers are limited, we can look at other options.

TONY: God had a purpose: To create a universe(or planet if assuming the universe is too much) full of life.

With my theist hat on, I agree 100%. The point at issue is why he wanted to create a universe or planet full of life.

TONY: So, God WANTED to create life. That does not mean that every step of the path towards that purpose was necessarily joyous any more than the path to achieving knowledge, wealth, power, or any other goal is joyous every step of the way.

I didn’t say it was necessarily joyous. If I may borrow your method of human analogy, I do not shout for joy when I watch King Lear or Othello. But perhaps I should not use the word “entertainment”, as people do tend to associate it with amusement (see your comment below). Let’s stick to relief of boredom.

DHW: I will assume that you share David’s view of God as the First Cause, i.e. an eternally conscious mind. What is this mind conscious of? As First Cause it has nothing to be conscious of except itself. Frankly, what a bore! And so it decides to create something to relieve the boredom of eternal introspection: a universe containing living material beings, which it can watch develop in all kinds of unexpected ways. […] Once again, I do not expect you to support this interpretation of life’s history geared to God’s purpose, but can you fault its logic?
TONY: Oh, it is interesting to muse about what it must have been like for God maturing as an entity. I have no idea how it went, whether or not he was bored, or anything of the sort. […] Perhaps God's realization of his own loneliness prior to creating his son was his inspiration and driving force behind creating everything else: to prevent his son from suffering the same loneliness that he experienced. Where I draw the line is at saying that entertainment, purely as something to amuse him while he wiles away eternity, is not something I would attribute to him. While you do not necessarily see this, everywhere I look I see signs of unfathomable, unspeakable love in all of creation. Things created to bring joy, not to God, but to the rest of God's creations. Why would God need sweet smelling flowers, pleasant tasting food, strange and exhilarating dreams that he doesn't experience, pleasurable sex, or any other number of other joys that could offer little or no benefit to him?

Thank you for your acknowledgement that boredom and loneliness might be his motivation. I do not expect you to believe it. And I do indeed see all these signs of love, just as I see animals eating each other, dying of hunger or thirst, fleeing in terror, screaming in pain, wasting from disease, being destroyed by natural disasters. Like the benefits of the pleasures, these would offer little or no suffering to your God. But please don’t misunderstand me. I am not passing judgement. I am only looking at his works and trying to find a logical pattern to explain his purpose. Relief of boredom can take many forms. I note that you have not found any logical flaw in this hypothesis as applied to life’s history.
I’m interested in your reference to God “maturing as an entity”. This would seem to fit in with the idea that God did not start out as the eternal know-all but, like ourselves, keeps learning from experience. This implies limitations, but is it what you mean?

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